I guarantee that at least once in your life you've had to manually type the text of a printed paper into a digital document, and I'm sure halfway through you cursed at your keyboard and wished you could just scan the page into an editable text document. Sure, that can be easily taken care of with a scanner and OCR application at your disposal. But for those times when you are caught unprepared or on the go, a new Google Docs feature can help.

About two weeks back Google silently introduced a free OCR feature in Google Docs. Like any other OCR tool, this cloud-based service extracts text from images and then places it in your typical editable text-based document.

While all of this might seem magical, OCR services are not entirely new. There are quite a few of them out there -- some paid, others free, many install on your computer, and plenty are entirely Web-based options.

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